Behind the Fairy Tale: Cinderella
Cinderella, Cinderella, do the laundry, do the dishes, yadda yadda. I’m sure quite a few children pictured themselves Cinderella at some point. Of course, then these little girls grow up and they really DO have to do all the work, while children cry “Mommy, Mommy” instead of Cinderella and Prince Charming hides under his car.
But I digress. The story of Cinderella begins much the same way as Snow White. Mom promptly drops dead of “Disney and/or fairy tales in general hate mom syndrome.” Cinderella is left with dumb Dad, who once again gets her an evil stepmother and then drops dead. Thanks, Dad. This time, it’s worse, though, because Cinderella also gets two mean stepsisters to go with the mean stepmother. Instant dysfunctional family!
And like Snow White, Cinderella is made a servant in her own home. Only difference is she’s some sort of nobility instead of a princess. And she likes to sit by the cinders in the fireplace, so they call her “Cinder-ella.” Good thing she didn’t like sitting by the cow chips.
Cinderella puts up with the abuse with a happy smile, just like all women should. She sings while she cleans (Wtf with the singing while you clean? I never once was tempted to sing while I cleaned.) Also, she has help with her work. From the vermin. Yes, that’s right, even the disease infested rats love Cinderella. She feeds them and protects them from Lucifer (uh huh) the cat and knits them tiny clothes in all her spare time, and in return they keep her company. Reminds me a little of that show “Infested”.
So her miserable life goes on, with stepmom and stepsisters (who the story points out are ugly, which automatically equals evil in fairy tale logic) loading chores on her while they lay around being ugly and whatnot. Until one day they get this invitation to the prince’s ball. He’s bride shopping, and any girl who shows up gets a chance at the bidding block. Woot! Stepmother decides that her daughters are going to attract the prince, because she’s somewhat delusional. We’re talking an episode of “The Bachelor” here, not “Beauty and the Beast.”
Cinderella wants to go too, and so stepmom says that sure she can go, as long as she finds herself suitable clothes and finishes the impossible list of chores she gives her. What a saint. So Cinderella cleans and cleans. The vermin realize she’s never gonna get her chores done, so after wasting time singing a song about how mean everyone is to her “Cinderelly, Cinderelly” (oh how I hate that song) they get down to business and together they fix up this old dress for her with cast offs the stepsisters toss down.
Now I hate mice, but if I found some that could sing and sew, I would say “Heck with you stepmom, I’m goin’ on the road.” She could have made a bloomin’ fortune! Oh, well. Cinderella is sooo happy when she gets back and realizes the dress is all ready. She puts it on and rushes to join her stepfamily. They promptly rip her dress to shreds when they realize part of her dress once belonged to them. At this point, you’re beginning to think these guys might not be very nice people.
Heck, even Cinderella has finally figured this out, and breaks down and cries in the garden. But never fear, her fairy godmother appears out of nowhere and gives her a heart attack. She’s there to help the girl go to the ball! So now we’re in an episode of “What not to Wear” combined with “Pimp my Car” and “Say Yes to the Dress.” This is one big freaking reality show.
If I were Cinderella, I might be asking why this lady didn’t show up like ten years ago when all this mess started. But better late than never, I guess. She creates a coach out of a pumpkin, and makes the mice and dog into horses and coachmen (talk about identity crisis) and then makes Cinderella a brand new dress complete with glass slippers. Wow, talk about – freaking uncomfortable. In case you didn’t know, many believe that the glass slippers come from a mistranslation of the original and Cinderella was supposed to be wearing fur slippers. But what woman would wear fur when she could destroy her feet with breakable high heels, huh?
She gets to the ball, with the warning that the magic will end at midnight STAT. The prince sees her, and BAM instant love connection. He’s found his bachelorette. They dance and forget the time and then Cinderella realizes and runs away so he won’t know that she really wears rags and drives a pumpkin. Good choice, there. On the way, she loses a slipper (plot point!). The other slipper stays in her pocket. So she got to keep the most uncomfortable part of the magic. Thanks, FG!
The prince finds the slipper, but no girl. Word gets out that the prince will marry the girl whose foot fits the slipper. So he’s betting on there being only one size 0 in the entire kingdom. What if some other girl wore the same size? Then what? Would they put them in a line up and see if Prince Genius can remember which one he danced with?
Honestly, I’m pretty sure Cinderella’s prince gets the prize for most useless. He’s not even given a name, unless he really is named “Charming” which is the lamest name ever. It’s his father who, unlike the prince, is short and dumpy and freaky looking, who gets all the screen time. He wants grandchildren, so he’s ready to force his son into picking a wife right away. No word from what the son thinks about all this. Eh, who cares. In this story, the prince is not the rescuer but the prize! He’s so pretty, and look at all the ways you can pose him, Cindy!
A lackey is sent around with the enviable task of trying shoes on millions of stinky women’s feet. Joy. The stepmother figures out it is Cinderella the prince is looking for, and locks her up in her room when the shoe guys show up. The stepsisters try on the shoes, but they don’t fit. True fact: In the original fairy tale, the stepsisters are so eager to fit into the shoes, they actually chop their toes off. No lie. I’m guessing the shoe guys noticed all the blood building up in the shoes, because it didn’t work. Later, birds come and peck out the eyes of the sisters. Cinderella’s like “see ya suckers” and takes off with the prince. I like that version, personally.
In the Disney version, we can’t have blood or any of that fun violence, so the mice get the key and free Cinderella. The stepmother destroys the glass slipper, but Cinderella has the other one. That right there pretty much proves who she is, but they try the shoe on anyway, it fits, and Cinderella has won her man. It pays to have size 0 feet, ladies.
So Cinderella marries the prince, and lives happily ever after with trophy man and creepy grandpa who I can only assume sits outside their bedroom until word of an impending grandchild arrives. Oh, and the mice apparently come along and infest the castle, probably infecting the entire populace with the plague, but it was good while it lasted.
Next up, everyone’s favorite narcoleptic, Sleeping Beauty.